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Overview — Living with trash

An illustration of a woman dumping the contents of a shopping trolley into landfill outside a shopping centre.

Above: Shopping, illustration by Jan Gillbank

This is a thematic inquiry-based unit in which students will explore how the concept of rubbish, garbage or trash has inspired authors and artists to use it as a setting in stories or as a social and political topic of blogs and articles, thematic documentaries and works of art. Students will apply a range of critical reading and viewing strategies in response to related texts, including the novel Trash, the short documentary film Waste Not, a preview of the feature documentary Waste Land, the photographic expose Running the Numbers and a series of selected articles, blogs, media clips and websites related to this inquiry topic and a sustainability theme.

Students will participate in individual and collaborative learning experiences, including critical reading activities and review writing experiences. The unit will culminate in students writing a feature article about a chosen topic and creating an artwork from trash; both projects connected to the overarching inquiry theme.